Havering drivers abandon parking discs after huge cost hike

The decision to increase the cost of parking discs by 172 per cent has seen sales plummet by two-thirds - and Havering Council lose out on much-needed cash.

This time last year, Havering Council Cabinet agreed to increase the cost of annual parking disc from 13.20 to �36, as part of its plan to become more ‘cost effective’ and raise funds.

The increased charge came into effect earlier this year.

In the four months since April this year, 488 discs have been sold compared with 1,249 for the same period in 2010 - bringing in signifcantly less cash.

The discs have regularly sold around 4,000 a year but, based on current sales, the figure is unlikely to reach 1,500 this year.

Leader of the Residents’ Association, Cllr Clarence Barrett, said: “At a time when we should be supporting our local shopping centres, this exorbitant increase has only served as a deterrent rather than an encouragement. The consequence is to turn the bays into empty spaces thereby damaging much needed local trade.

“As we said all along, increasing the charge by 172 per cent was simply far too much and has actually put people off from buying the discs.

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“The fact that income is actually less than what was received last year is testimony enough to illustrate a worrying lack of understanding in the basic principle of supply and demand.”

Across the borough there are 458 disc parking bays. Elm Park has the most with 122, followed by Romford (109), Hornchurch (87), Upminster (65) and North Romford (25), Gidea Park (22), Upminster Bridge (16), Rainham (9) and Harold Wood (3).

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